Swing That Bell, Ju

Earlier this year I was plagued with a shin splint that severely curtailed my running for several weeks. I went to see our local physical therapist, Colton Marlin. During our time together, Dr. Marlin tried banging it into my head that in addition to running I needed strength training. After my pt, I kept going to his clinic for strength training. He offers his patients a gym membership once they are finished with pt. I spent about 2 months with him and loved every minute of it. Summer came and I stopped going.

Since things are beginning to get back to normal and I am back to a regular run schedule, I have been thinking about strength training again. With the days getting shorter, it is impossible for me to stay in town to work out. I can run in the dark, but my farm chores are impossible in the dark. (Have you ever tried finding a black cow at night?)  I need something I can do at home, after dark.  Enter kettlebells!

This is what womenshealthmag.com has to say about kettlebells: If you’ve eyed a cast-iron kettlebell at your gym and couldn’t imagine a use for it beyond doorstop, keep reading. Researchers found that people who did 20-minute kettlebell workouts torched almost 300 calories—and that’s just for starters. When you factor in the muscle-sculpting impact (the calories burned after you exercise as your body repairs its muscle fibers), the total expenditure could increase by up to 50 percent.

Kettlebells also make traditional dumbbell moves more challenging. Their weight isn’t evenly distributed, so your stabilizer muscles have to work harder. Add definition to your shoulders and back; tone your butt, core, and arms; and shed a few dress sizes with this circuit from Sean Armstead, owner of Phenomenal Fitness in Chicago.

Several of the runners I follow swear by kettlebells. Naturally, I had to get some and I bought a DVD training plan from Amazon. I went through the first dvd…and no further. For 20 minutes I stood and swung a 20 pound kettlebell. By the time I was finished, I could not raise my arms or sit down. I hurt in places that I did not know I had. Pulling a shirt on was sheer misery. Trying to sit to go to the restroom was the most agonizing thing I have ever done. Sitting on a chair was bad enough, but you can kind of plop down and you hit a cushion. Not so much with the other.  On day 2, I had the bright idea of doing it again to try to work out the soreness.  Wrong, made it worse.  Since standing was not a problem, I could still run and I stood around a lot for about a week. Thank heavens for aleve and ice. I retired the dvd collection.

I really like the idea and science behind  kettlebells, so I have found several good workouts on Pinterest. This week I have started working out with them on the days I don’t run. I don’t know what it is about a kettlebell workout, but it is hard for me. They seem to work muscles differently than any other weight program I have used.   Once I get a little more confident using them, I’m going to break out the dvds and try again.

A tip on using kettlebells…be very careful and hang on tight. Those suckers can fly out of your hands if you aren’t careful and they leave quite a dent in wood floors.

At my age, I know strength training is a must. I may not think I’m this age, but my body and the mirror know better. I’ve got to make sure to do all I can to make my later years the best they can be. The only way to do that is to take care of my whole body.

The past couple of weeks have made for interesting running weather. There have been a few days of glorious, no humidity weather. I am amazed at how much better my runs are on those days. Then, boom, 95% humidity comes back. Cooler days are coming to stay for a while, right?

Run happy.

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